Game Seventy-Five – Cubs 1, Mets 17
WP – Jon Niese (6-3) LP – Jeff Samardzija (5-7) Save – None
What a difference a day makes … Less than 24 hours after one of their better games of the season, the Cubs were pounded by the Mets 17-1. While the Metropolitans looked like they were taking batting practice (17 runs on 16 hits, with four home runs and six doubles), the Cubs offense managed one run on nine hits (two doubles) on a typical summer day at Wrigley Field.
Wednesday’s finale was actually tied at one going into the top of the fourth. The Mets scored three runs in the fourth, six in the fifth and sixth innings then tacked on one in the eighth for good measure … and the Cubs ended up in the history books for the wrong reason.
The Mets became the first team since the 2007 Rangers and just the fourth since 1918 to have four players each with at least four RBI in a game. David Wright (2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored, a sac fly and five RBI) led the way with five RBI. Daniel Murphy (3-for-5 with a double, two home runs, four RBI and two runs scored), Ike Davis (3-for-5 with two doubles, a home run, three runs scored and four RBI) and Scott Hairston (2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI) drove in the Mets other 12 runs.
Jeff Samardzija had another bad outing and finished June with a 0-4 record in five starts with a 10.41 ERA and a 2.06 WHIP. Samardzija threw from behind in the count for a majority of his outing. When he got ahead Samardzija could not put the hitter away and ended up walking the batter. Samardzija allowed a season-high nine runs on six hits (two home runs). Samardzija walked four batters, all four scored, and he struck out one batter (second time this season Samardzija struck out only one batter in an outing). Samardzija threw 72 pitches, 39 for strikes, and was lifted with one out in the fifth.
Dale Sveum tried to stop the onslaught with Casey Coleman … but the Mets just kept on hitting. Coleman, like Samardzija, pitched from behind in the count and allowed seven runs on six hits (two home runs) with two walks and one strikeout in 1 2/3 innings.
The Mets put a six-spot on the board in both the fifth and sixth innings … and Jon Niese started both six-run frames with a walk.
Jairo Asencio (seventh inning) and Manny Corpas (ninth inning) did not allow any runs Wednesday but Rafael Dolis allowed one run on two hits in his first game back from the minors.
Cubs’ pitching issued seven free passes (two to Jon Niese) and six of the seven scored. The bottom line is, Major League pitchers must throw strikes and too many on the Cubs’ staff have not figured that out yet.
Jon Niese, on the other hand, pounded the strike zone (118, 81 strikes). Luis Valbuena 1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) drove in the Cubs’ only run with a two-out double in the second.
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a double and four left on base) just missed a home run in the third that would have broken the 1-1 tie. Rizzo settled for a double and the Cubs had two on with two down after Alfonso Soriano (0-for-1 with a walk) worked a walked. Both Rizzo and Soriano advanced ninety feet on a passed ball but Jon Niese caught Jeff Baker (0-for-4 with two strikeouts and four left on base) looking a 2-2 pitch to end the inning … and as it turned out the game. The Cubs were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday and left seven on base.
With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 26-49 on the season … Jeff Samardzija set the tone for Cubs’ pitching less than five minutes into the game. Samardzija issued a four-pitch walk to Andres Torres. Torres swiped second with Ruben Tejada at the plate. After Samardzija missed the strike zone with his first six pitches, Samardzija finally threw a strike. Tejada grounded out to second, Torres advanced to third then tagged and scored when David Wright flied out to right … and just like that, the Mets had a 1-0 lead. Samardzija retired Lucas Duda on a fly out to center on the 12th pitch of the inning (six strikes).
With the Cubs down 1-0, Joe Mather led off the first with a single to right. Starlin Castro followed with a single to right and Mather advanced to third on the play. Anthony Rizzo popped a 0-2 pitch into shallow center. Mather had to hold at third.
Alfonso Soriano looked at two straight from Niese to start his at bat. After Niese evened the count at two, he caught Castro off first and picked him off. Soriano lined out to third to end the inning … from first and third with no outs to zero runs.
Samardzija made quick work of Ike Davis and Scott Hairston to start the second. Samardzija then fell behind the slumping Daniel Murphy 3-1. Murphy doubled to right center but was stranded when Josh Thole grounded out to the hole at short. Samardzija threw 23 pitches in the first two innings, 12 for strikes.
The Cubs were able to tie the game in the bottom of the second. Jon Niese retired Baker and Soto to start the inning before Darwin Barney reached on a two-out single to left. Luis Valbuena plated Barney with a double to left … game tied at one. Samardzija struck out swinging to end the inning.
Jeff Samardzija set down the Mets in order in the third (after three 32 pitches, 19 strikes, for Samardzija).
The Cubs wasted a chance to take the lead in the third. After Mather struck out swinging and Castro grounded out to second, Anthony Rizzo stepped in a ripped a 1-2 pitch to deep right center. The ball hit off the top of the wall and Rizzo ended up at second with a two-out double. Alfonso Soriano walked. With Baker at the plate, a 1-2 pitch got away from Josh Thole. Rizzo and Soriano advanced to second and third … but Jeff Baker looked at the next pitch to end the inning.
Samardzija walked Lucas Duda to start the fourth … and the game quickly got away from the Cubs. Ike Davis pulled a 2-2 pitch to right. Duda scored on Davis’ double and gave the Mets a 2-1 lead. Scott Hairston flied out to center (2-1 pitch), Davis tagged and advanced to third then trotted home on Daniel Murphy’s first home run of the season. Josh Thole flied out to deep left to end the inning (52 pitches for Samardzija, 29 for strikes). The Mets took a 4-1 lead but with the wind blowing out, there was a feeling more runs than five would be scored …
The Cubs did nothing in the fourth.
Jeff Samardzija walked Jon Niese on five pitches to start the fifth. Andres Torres fouled out to Valbuena. Ruben Tejada ripped a 0-1 pitch off the wall in left center. Niese held at third on Tejada’s double. Samardzija jumped ahead of David Wright but made a mistake on a 1-2 pitch that ended up in the gap in left center. Niese and Tejada scored, 6-1 Mets.
Samardzija issued a four-pitch walk to Lucas Duda. With runners on first and second with one out, Ike Davis launched Samardzija’s first pitch … and just like that the Mets had a 9-1 lead.
Dale Sveum made the slow walk and went to his pen for Casey Coleman.
Scott Hairston flied out to deep left for the second out of the inning. Daniel Murphy then made it 10-1 with his second homer in as many at bats. Josh Thole flied out to right (3-1 pitch) to end the fifth.
Casey Coleman hit for himself and singled to right to start the Cubs’ fifth. Joe Mather flied out to deep left. Castro hit into a 1-6 fielder’s choice and Rizzo popped out to Murphy on a 1-1 pitch for the third out.
After five, the Cubs trailed 10-1 …
Casey Coleman walked Jon Niese to start the sixth … second walk of the afternoon for the Mets’ pitcher. Andres Torres reached on an infield single and Tejada singled to right to load the bases, with no outs, for David Wright. Wright ripped a 2-2 pitch into center. Niese and Torres scored, 12-1 Mets. Coleman walked Duda to reload the bases.
Coleman struck out Davis looking for the first out … but Scott Hairston cleared the bases with one swing. Hairston launched Coleman’s first pitch over the wall in center, 16-1 Mets. Coleman retired Murphy (flyout to center) before giving up a double to Josh Thole. Jon Niese tapped back to Coleman to end the inning.
The Mets hit four home runs (one grand slam) and five doubles and were walked six times in the first six innings.
Niese faced the minimum in the sixth after Tony Campana (hitting for Soriano) led off with a single to right. Baker hit into a 6-4-3 double play and Soto struck out swinging.
Dale Sveum went to his bench prior to the top of the seventh. Campana (centerfield) stayed in, Mather moved to left, Baker moved to second, Barney moved to short, Castro and Soriano got the rest of the day off and Bryan LaHair took over in right.
Jairo Asencio allowed a two-out single to Justin Turner in the seventh … but that was all. The Mets were kept off the board in the seventh inning.
Darwin Barney led off the bottom of the seventh with his second hit of the game, a single to left. Niese retired Valbuena (flyout to left), struck out LaHair and Mather flied out to center to end his afternoon.
The Mets tacked on in the eighth against Rafael Dolis. Ike Davis led off the eighth with a double to left. Scott Hairston blooped a single to center. Davis held at third with no outs. Daniel Murphy grounded out to short. Davis scored the Mets’ 17th and final run. Thole grounded into a 4-6-3 inning ending double play.
Steve Clevenger hit for Dolis and singled to right off Ramon Ramirez to start the inning. Rizzo struck out, Campana grounded out to second (Clevenger forced at second) and Baker struck out swinging to end the eighth.
Manny Corpas issued a leadoff walk to Mike Nickeas in the ninth. Andres Torres grounded into a 6-3 double play. Tejada singled to center but Justin Turner mercifully grounded out to short for the third out.
The Cubs did nothing in the ninth against Ramon Ramirez … game over.
The Cubs still won the series (2-1) but the good feelings from Monday and Tuesday were washed away with Wednesday’s pounding.
Thursday is an off-day for Dale Sveum’s team. The Cubs open a three-game series with the Astros on Friday afternoon at Wrigley … Paul Maholm against Bud Norris in game one.
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